Incident Summary:

09/01/2004: A group of thirty to thirty-five armed Chechen and Ingush rebels, including men and women, many wearing suicide bomber belts, seized a school in Beslan in the Pravoberezhny district of North Ossetia, Russia. The perpetrators took approximately 1200 children, parents, and teachers hostage in the school gym. By the conclusion of the siege 727 people had been injured and approximately 344 had been killed.




Eastern Europe

region/u.s. state:

North Ossetia-Alania


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Barricade Incident)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Educational Institution
Name of Entity Russian School System
Specific Description School Number One (SNO) in Beslan, Russia
Nationality of Target Russia
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Civilians
Specific Description Students, parents and teachers
Nationality of Target Russia
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 1200
US Hostages 0
Days of Kidnapping 3
Outcome Combination
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Suicide (carried bodily by human being)
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Weapon Details
The perpetrators all had firearms and were said to be wearing suicide belts.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information In Russia, September 1st is the first day of school, also known as the Day of Knowledge, marked by ceremonies attended by children, family and educators.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Group Sub-name Claimed Responsibility
Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs Black Widows, Commander Shamil Basayev Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Personal claim)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 3
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 344 Fatalities / 727 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 344
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 27
Total Number of Injured 727
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
“Three suspects arrested following Russia school siege,” Agence France Presse, September 5, 2004.
C.J. Chivers, Steven Lee Meyers and Viktor Klimenko, “250 die as siege at a Russian School Ends in Chaos,” New York Times, September 4, 2004.
“More than 200 dead, 700 wounded in bloody school hostage battle in Russia,” Agence France Presse, September 3, 2004.